Admission racketeering: Senate summons education minister, JAMB registrar, UNN VC

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The Senate has summoned the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, the Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and the Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Charles Igwe, over alleged admissions racketeering.

They are to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Public Petitions and Privileges, and the committees on tertiary education and TETFUND for explanations on alleged undisclosed admissions and unwholesome practices by JAMB, UNN, and other universities.

The Senate resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Deputy Whip, Senator Peter Nwebonyi (APC, Ebonyi North), during plenary on Wednesday.

Senator Nwebonyi, while presenting the motion, alleged that some JAMB officials, in collaboration with admission officers in the universities, are neck deep into the unwholesome practice of shortchanging some students in the admission process.

The alleged malpractices, he said, are mostly carried out on students seeking professional courses like Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacy, Law, Engineering, Nursing Science, etc.

The lawmaker specifically cited the case of one Miss Chinyere Ekwe and 290 others who were admitted to study Medicine and Surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, but had their admissions truncated on the order of JAMB for no plausible reason after they had completed the admission processes and resumed lectures.

He said: “Miss Ekwe, in particular, scored 291 in the 2019 UTME and 300 in the university’s post-UTME, which qualified her for the course. She was subsequently admitted by the university but later transferred to the Department of Medical Laboratory Science on the ground that if her cumulative grade point was up to 4.5 points after the first year, she would be transferred back to Medicine and Surgery.

“However, despite the fact that she surpassed the 4.5 threshold, her admission status is still not yet certain as to whether she is duly admitted in the Department of Medicine and Surgery or Medical Laboratory Science.”

Senator Nwebonyi lamented that the provisional admission practice is being used as a malicious tool to exploit and frustrate intelligent young Nigerians who are children and wards of ordinary people who seek admission into Nigerian universities.

“Such unwholesome practises put our educational system in jeopardy, cause apathy on the part of ordinary Nigerians, and also dampen the renewed hope this government stands for,” he stressed.

However, the prayer by the senator to compel JAMB to give Medicine and Surgery admission to Miss Ekwe without further delay was not adopted by the Senate on the grounds of the weighty allegations raised, which required a thorough investigation.

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